As most of you know, my favorite show of all time is MythBusters. The show is absolutely fantastic because it incorporates wild and crazy inventions, explosions and a good dose of learning thrown in for good measure. MythBusters is essentially a show that takes common myths that we all tend to believe, and puts them to the real world test. They do this with their special effects knowledge and a good team of inventors, hobbyists and technicians that can aid them on their journey, and eventually they show the world the truth and real world application of the myth.
You’re probably wondering what the hell a TV show has to do with marketing at this point, and I don’t blame you. It’s simple really.
Whenever Adam or Jamie (the two hosts of the show) test out some major prototype of an idea, they start with a small scale version. If the small scale test works, they ramp it up and build a full scale version, often 10 or 100 times bigger.
A small scale test is important because we live in a pretty consistent world. If your conversion rate of prospects to customers is about 10% with 100 visitors a month, chances are it will still be 10% at 1000 visitors a month. It’s the same conversion rate, just a lot more sales.
If you test something out on a smaller scale, you can see problems with the initial concept or design before you spend a lot of money or time building or developing the full size version of it. If on the other hand you don’t build a small scale version of your project, you could potential waste money on a flawed design.
Yeah, But What About Marketing?
If you plan on writing a piece of copy for your salesletter, newsletter, or any other medium really, you need to test it on a small scale before you roll it out to the masses.
When you are writing marketing material to draw in your prospect, you should start with a small scale version of what they think they want.
Test out the main points of the material you plan on writing before you actually write it. More often then not, you’ll find that what you thought your prospect wanted to hear was in fact completely different from the what they actually wanted to hear.
You can test in a small scale with surveys, interviews or even one on one consulting, but however you do it, really get to know them. The questions they ask, the things they’re scared of, the things they want in life, all of these are extremely important to know about your customer.
The big mistake a lot of marketers make though is that they “ASSUME” they know, and just write what they want. Never assume anything. Ever.
Adam and Jamie have been doing this stuff for years, and they never assume they know something, they ALWAYS test. They’ve learned the hard way that false assumptions are the root of the majority of problems in the world.
In fact, the very basis of the show is based on testing things that people have always just assumed were true.
Write a headline, and send it to a few people, see how they react. Split test between two or three headlines. Test between different selling points or benefits. Do all of this BEFORE you write the body of the copy so that you have an idea of the kinds of things your prospect is actually interested in.
If you sell blenders, and your customer wants to make fruit smoothie, you can go on and on forever about the titanium alloy the blades are made of, or the streak free shine the glass pitcher has. At the end of the day though, they don’t care.
They want to do one thing, make a fruit smoothie. To them, your blender falls into one of two categories:
- Blenders that make fruit smoothies
- Blenders that don’t make fruit smoothies
That’s it. Don’t over complicate it.
If you don’t know what your prospect wants, ask them. Then test with others. Eventually you’ll find a winner.
There’s Still More
So you know you need to do a small scale test of any marketing material you put out, and then it’s done. Right?
Another great lesson from Adam and Jamie is that they have brilliant minds that are always working. To them, just because something is finally built on the full scale doesn’t mean it’s finished. They often come up with ideas in the field with the prototype already built and test new things out on the spot.
This is another great practice for marketing because one little change can be the difference between someone buying your product or clicking off the page.
The key is that you have to be receptive to what exactly your customer wants, not necessarily what you want to give them. If those two things conflict, there is nothing you can do on the marketing end to make them happy.
If you truly have a product or service that is a perfect match for your customer though, the way that you tell them about it needs to be convincing enough so that they believe your product or service is a worthy investment.
There are some really great products and services out there that just don’t have the proper marketing done on the front end and even though it’s fantastic, the prospect has no way of knowing because what they read doesn’t communicate the value properly.
The Bottom Line
Test first, launch later. Many marketers like to write something and just throw it online and never touch it again, and that’s the problem.
Marketing isn’t a billboard that never changes, it’s fluid and ever changing. Marketing is the process of effectively communicating the value of your product or service to the prospect, so as the prospect evolves, so should the marketing.
Like Adam and Jamie, learn to test consistently and don’t be afraid to tweak things. When tweaking, be sure to test though.
You can get some pretty positive results by changing very small details on a site, but you can also get a decrease in conversion, so be sure to keep an eye on the numbers.
Above all else though, remember this:
Perfect doesn’t exist, but the strive for perfection is what makes great things possible.
So, what do you guys think? Are there any other tidbits of marketing info you can learn from other TV shows?